When it comes to reducing cybersecurity risk across your organization, sometimes the simple things can create the most impact — for instance — using secure passwords.
Sixty-one percent of data breaches could be attributed to weak passwords, according to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Report. Having a weak password could allow an attacker to access sensitive organizational or critical infrastructure systems and cause potential harm to the company or its customers.
The best way to prevent this is to use strong passwords across the organization. Best practices for strong passwords include using unique passwords for every account and ensuring those passwords are long, unpredictable, and leveraging a multitude of types of characters (in other words, not using “password” or “12345” as ways to secure accounts).
However, the challenge for many users and organizations is that strong passwords can be challenging to remember and access quickly, especially if they’re unique for every account. That’s where a password manager can help.
A password manager is an application that can help you generate secure passwords for each account then store them in an encrypted digital vault that you can quickly access when it’s time to log in. Many password managers can also auto-populate the passwords into login fields, making it even easier for users to leverage secure passwords across all their accounts. The result is that users only have to remember a single complex, secure password, versus potentially hundreds.
There are two main types of password managers: browser-based and application-based. Browser-based password managers are typically built into the web browser you might already use to surf the Internet. This technology can make them easy to access and use, but they may not work across all devices and applications without accessing them through that browser. Meanwhile, a full password manager application can be more comprehensive.
Some may be concerned that leveraging a password manager can mean putting all critical passwords in an easy-to-access location for attackers. However, research has proven that the benefits of leveraging more secure passwords considerably outweigh the risks, especially if the password manager is leveraging strong encryption technology to protect data (as most do).
SMBs looking to reduce their cybersecurity risk can consider providing a password manager application to all their employees. They will want to ensure they use training to educate employees on password best practices, why those practices are important, and how to leverage the password manager technology successfully.
With attacks continuing to rise against businesses big and small, SMBs need to take every precaution they can to limit their risk. Leveraging strong passwords and a password manager is one small change an SMB can make to significantly impact their overall cybersecurity posture.